Comments Pending



I am used to being ignored, in a way that many parents may find familiar, as in having to ask repeatedly before a dishwasher gets unloaded, or a dog gets fed or a load of trash gets hauled to the bin.  But recently I thought I had been muted by my Protestant friend, who took a few days to approve my comments on a recent blog post about her failed marriage.  She had shared a painful, sad story which at one point alluded to a conversation she initiated with her pastor regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage.  My comments, written intentionally and thoughtfully in the hope of providing comfort and inspiration in her time of suffering and loss seemed to have been deemed unfit for public consumption.  As I wondered about the possibility of being censored, I thought, “Perhaps I am too Catholic for approval.”  Ultimately knowing it was her decision to publish what she wished on her own site, trusting she must have had her reasons, I held no grudge.

In her post, she described the tearful day she told her pastor, “If I was Catholic this wouldn’t even be considered a marriage, since it was never consummated.”  At which point her pastor replied, “But you aren’t Catholic.  And you are married.”

Perhaps I was inspired by a quote from the daily reading:

It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard. ~Acts 4:20

And so I prayed, and commented:

May God be praised for your honesty and charity in sharing your story… and may your experience be helpful for others and bring you closer to Christ…

The teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage are unbelievably beautiful, and give us great peace of mind (even in great trials) and true hope for the future…

I will continue to hold you in prayer, and my offer is always open if you want to come and pray with me… Praying in the Real Presence of Christ is an incredible grace. Even non-believers experience tremendous peace and deepening of (or beginning of) faith when they spend time with Him in person.

If you ever want to know and understand why the Catholic Church teaches what she teaches, please don’t ask someone who isn’t a devout, knowledgeable Catholic…you will only get an opinion (sometimes an extremely distorted and misleading, or even harmful answer {not that they would do it on purpose, it’s just that they pass on what they’ve been taught, which is most often untrue}). You cannot get the (whole) truth about the Catholic Church from a non-Catholic or an ex-Catholic or a lukewarm Catholic. (It would be like asking a vegan to explain all the details of living as a diabetic…Absurd!)

Or, look up your question or a topic of interest on a reputable website like www.Catholicscomehome.org  See the link on the main page for non-Catholics.

I am honored to call you my friend and a sister in Christ…

Signing off…with love,
Bridget

 

While this comment lingered in the land of ‘pending approval,’ I carried my friend close to my heart and prayed that she would find true peace in Christ and healing through His Real Presence. Ultimately it is her blog, and her life, and she wasn’t asking me for my opinion or my advice.  It was freely given; hers to accept or reject.

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”  ~Mk 16:15

This morning I found my comment and a few dozen others, all offering kind and supportive messages had been approved.  As my friend begins a new chapter in her life, I pray that my Catholic comment will inspire her to seek the truth where the truth may be found.

{Post updated and edited 4/16/12}

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Angels for the Homebound



Taking Holy Communion to sick and homebound Catholics brings great grace and joy even in the face of serious illness, staggering pain or impending death.  The spiritual benefits of homebound communion reach not just to the recipient, but to everyone touched by the True Presence of our Eucharistic Lord.

On Easter Sunday my oldest son, Zachary (17), and I had the awesome task of bringing Holy Communion to a loyal parishioner who had just returned home from an emergency surgery and subsequent hospitalization.  Despite a 2AM bedtime after the three and a half hour (amazing) Easter Vigil and a two hour (packed) Easter morning Mass, we gladly made time to deliver our Risen Lord to our recovering friend and his faithful wife.   Our family’s egg hunt and dinner with grandparents could be postponed.

While driving to their home with the consecrated host concealed in a pyx-bag around my neck, I imagined our van surrounded and protected by attending heavenly hosts who dutifully praise God continually and guard the Blessed Sacrament.   Homebound ministers are trained to take Jesus directly, and if possible, in silence, with extreme reverence to the waiting recipient(s).  As I drove, I praised God in my heart for the privilege of bringing Him to our friends in their time of need.

Upon entering the home, our friends introduced us to a visiting couple, their dear Protestant friends who had stopped by to visit and spend Easter Sunday afternoon together.   We invited them to remain in the room while we set up a simple home altar with a crucifix, candles, and a mini corporal cloth upon which the gold pyx containing our Eucharistic Lord rested.

Before we began the prescribed liturgy, our friends apologized for the incessant barking of their little dog who had been relegated to the back deck and who stood yipping non-stop at the sliding glass door.   As owners of two excitable, often-obnoxious-barking labs, the gentle yips of their little pet seemed like whispers to our ears.

After the examination of conscience, Confiteor and proclamation of the Gospel, we attempted to relate a few highlights from the Easter Sunday homily.  As Zachary offered a synopsis of one aspect of the sermon, I was struck with a deep sense of gratitude for his willingness to minister to the sick and to participate both as the reader and in sharing Father’s teachings.  One reflection we relayed from the lesson centered on the idea of Christ’s five wounds redeeming and sanctifying our five fallen senses.  When our recovering friend heard this message, his jaw dropped and he exclaimed, “I have five wounds from my surgery!”  The healing power of the Word had obviously touched him and seemed to impart a profound consolation as he discovered the similarity between his own physical suffering and the wounds of Christ Crucified.

In union with the Universal Church, we said the prayers of the faithful and the Lord’s Prayer followed by the final preparation and pleas for mercy before the distribution of Holy Communion.   A profound silence followed their reception, allowing our friends and us the opportunity for personal prayer before our final sign of the cross and concluding prayer, “May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.”

Our mission accomplished, Zachary and I collected our things and offered parting Easter greetings and promises of prayer for our friend’s full recovery.   Before our departure, as the barking dog carried on his relentless protestation at being left outside, the Protestant woman remarked incredulously, “Did you notice that the dog stopped barking during the Most Important Part?”  I secretly thanked the attending angels for a job well done.

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